IMG Rainier Emmons Summit Climb Itinerary
Day 1 We meet in Ashford at IMG Headquarters (directions) at 2:00pm where our training curriculum begins with the pre-climb meeting. This meeting of approximately 3 hours is instrumental in getting the team outfitted, informed, packed and educated prior to departure. Topics to be covered include an introduction of the entire team; issue and fitting of rental gear; personal gear checks and issue of group gear; instruction in the proper use of safety equipment including helmets, harnesses and avalanche beacons; introduction to knots, ropes, rope travel and a review of additional critical climbing skills. We'll issue all rental gear needed, go carefully over personal gear and get our packs all set to go. Promptly at 5:00pm we'll load up the IMG van and drive for 1 ½ hours to Crystal Mountain Ski Area on the east side of the mountain. During the ride the guides will discuss other aspects of the climb including an introduction to Mt. Rainier National Park, its mission and ecology and a safety briefing. The evening ends with a group dinner and night spent at the Alpine Inn (both at additional cost).
Lodging at Crystal Mountain Ski area is not included in the cost of the program. Please make your lodging arrangements directly with the Alpine Inn (888-SKI-6400). Tell the registration desk you are climbing the Emmons Route with IMG and they will provide a discount on the standard room rate for the night. The Inn also offers our customers a special rate for a team dinner the first evening and an early departure team breakfast the morning of Day 2
Day 2 In the morning after breakfast, we load up the IMG van and shuttle to the White River trailhead at 4,500ft on the north-east side of Mt. Rainier. Our training continues with the skills needed for safe and efficient travel with an expedition pack. From here we hike three miles on trails through forest to Glacier Basin before continuing a few more miles over rough trail and snow to our first camp at 8,200ft on the Inter Glacier. Just below camp we stop for on snow training in the use of the ice axe, self arresting slips on snow and efficient climbing up and down steeper snow slopes. Upon arrival at the camp site the guides will teach you how to construct a well sheltered and anchored tent camp on the glacier.
Day 3 The following day we climb a fairly short distance to high camp, adjacent to Camp Schurman, located at 9,600ft on Steamboat Prow, a wedge formation that divides the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers. Along the way we ascend the Inter and Emmons glaciers which provide us with a perfect opportunity to practice roped glacier travel, one of the skills we will need in ascending the upper mountain the following day. Once at Schurman we learn about constructing a proper expedition camp incorporating LNT techniques, then hold a team informational meeting to discuss the summit climb. We'll have dinner and get to bed early. We begin our ascent before dawn the next day and generally count on a 12-hour round trip to the 14,410ft summit and back to camp.
Day 4 Our summit day takes us up the Emmons "Corridor" and often onto the Upper Winthrop Glacier depending on the route conditions. The conditions can vary greatly but we usually encounter crevasses and snow bridges, and some moderately steep snow climbing. Throughout the day, the guides will be directing their rope teams, providing safety feedback and hands on training in safe glacier travel. We'll ascend glacier terrain to the very top. We normally hit the summit crater close to the true high point, Columbia Crest. We spend an hour on the summit, weather permitting. Instruction on safe descending techniques begins and the descent normally takes half the time the ascent required. The round trip normally takes 12 hours total. After arriving back at our high camp we get some well-deserved rest during our final night on the mountain.
Day 5 The following morning we descend the Inter Glacier and retrace our steps back down to the White River Trailhead by noon to 1:00 pm where we meet the shuttle for the ride back around the mountain to IMG headquarters in Ashford. At HQ we'll wrap up the trip with an awarding of certificates of achievement by the guides. The average program ends around 4 pm but unpredictable variables may affect our return time.